Not long ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Paul Dano, a crucial component in the wonderful ensemble cast of Little Miss Sunshine. In the film, Paul plays Dwayne; an extremely angry Nietzsche-reading teenager who has taken a vow of silence until he is accepted into the Air Force Academy. Paul crashed onto the independent film scene in a big way when he starred as a young boy "involved" with a much older man in Michael Cuesta's directorial debut, L.I.E. Since then, Paul has gone on to star in films like The Girl Next Door,Taking Lives and The Ballad of Jack and Rose.

Most recently, he's had the chance to work with director Richard Linklater on the upcoming Fast Food Nation, as well as helped voice a Wild Thing in Spike Jonze's big-screen adaptation of the popular children's book, Where the Wild Things Are. Paul had a lot to say. So did I. Check it out:

Cinematical: How did you first get involved with Little Miss Sunshine?

Paul Dano: It was a long time ago, like three and a half years ago. I met with John (Dayton) and Valerie (Faris), the directors, and auditioned for the movie. At that point, they were trying to get it made. It went well, we talked and it seemed like they really wanted me to do the movie. And I really wanted to do the movie – it was a wonderful script. And then the movie kept getting pushed, kept getting pushed. And I live in New York, so whenever I was out in LA, I would say hi to them (Jonathan and Valerie), grab coffee, that sort of thing. A few years go by, I'm thinking maybe I'm too old or too tall, and luckily, it just got made. Another year later and who knows if I would have been fitting for the part. It boggles me this movie took so long to get made because the script was brilliant.